Customer Reviews: MartinLogan Dynamo 300 Home Theater and Stereo Subwoofer
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on April 12, 2012
I have a pair of Martin Logan Sequel speakers for my main 2 channel listening and have always been impressed with the bass the 8" drivers deliver. So when I setup my home theater, I got a Grotto sub and was really impressed with the definition and extension of the subwoofer. I've got a smaller system that features a pair of Mission speakers and a low cost receiver with a sub output and was looking for a low cost sub. I found this the Dynamo 300 for less than $250 on Amazon and thought I would give it a try.

It was delivered the next day (WOW) and is a bit smaller than the Grotto, but had the familiar look and feel of an American made product from Martin Logan. One problem was the port extension had come lose inside and needed to be reattached. Rather than send it back, I just took the amp out and fixed it myself. Setup was pretty easy with my Onkyo receiver, I set the crossover frequency at 100 and started playing with placement. After a couple of days of break in, playing with the placement and reducing the crossover in my receiver to 90, it started giving me the results I was looking for. It has enough power to fill my small room with very good bass and works well on movies and music. Don't let the 70 Watt rating fool you, this thing tumps.

The sound is accurate and tight. The extension is very good, it goes much lower than I expected and without being boomy like so many woofers. Some notes: Setup the system to crossover to take over where your main speakers leave off, as low as you can. My speakers can go down to 50 Hz but don't do a good job at anything below 80 Hz so I set the crossover at 90 Hz. At 100 Hz it was way to boomy. I then used the receiver crossover to remove anything below 90 Hz going to my main speakers and that made a huge improvement. It is VERY HARD to manage multiple speakers reproducing bass in the same frequency range. Letting the sub do it's thing without interference will provide much better results. Another benefit to removing the low frequencies from the main speakers is the amplifier in your receiver will not have to burn power on pushing low frequencies that can be reproduced better by the sub. This improves your overall sound. Warning, While the 300 has an adjustable high pass filter, this sub will not provide a crossover that will work for your main speakers. You will need to manage that from your receiver. If you receiver does not feature a crossover, set the high pass filter lower. You can pick the frequency by looking up the frequency response of your main speakers and go just a bit higher than the lowest number usually between 50 - 90 Hz.

In summary, I can't imagine a more accurate sub for the money. Much better than anything costing less than $350 from any other manufacturer. If you are in the market for a sub on a budget, stop looking and get this.
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on August 23, 2012
I was a bit hesitant to buy a Martin Logan sub at first. I know that sounds weird because, hey, it's Martin Logan, but there's a perfectly good reason. I was concerned that a company who makes speakers that sell for thousands of dollars would REALLY drop the ball when it came to a sub that sells for less than $200.

I read through all the reviews and got a good feel for what to expect. A sub that, at first, would sound a bit harsh, but that would "settle" as it moved past the break-in period.

I received it on the very same day predicted by the Amazon ordering system, and raced home to set it up, leaving work early and breaking several speed limits in the process. The packaging was solid, and the sub arrived in good condition.

After reading the manual, I proceeded to set it up in the front corner of my entertainment room. The reviews were right, it DOES sound a bit harsh and out-of-place at first. The bass hits were heavy and sort of distorted, but this was to be expected after reading through the manual as well as all of the prior customer reviews. I watched a couple of movies with good sound-tracks "The Dark Knight", "300", and "Braveheart" to see how it would integrate with my system. Although the sound did have that harsh edge, it still produced a much better overall theater presence than my sub-less system did the day before. I decided to break it in the quick way, and set up some streaming music to play continuously during the day while I was at work. After a few days of 8+ hours of music playing through it at a moderate volume, the edges started to smooth out and the sound became much more musical and transparent.

People say the best speaker is the one you forget is there, and that's exactly what this sub is. While watching movies or playing music (of many different genres) I simply forget that it's a separate speaker. It integrates so seemlessly with the other speakers in the system that it feels like the main speakers have simply gained an octave or two into the low-register. This sub is one of the best purchases I've made in a long time. I enjoy it every single day, and even though it's a pretty small sub, it manages to easily fill in all the gaps at a volume that more than adequately fills the room for which it was purchased.
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on June 21, 2013
**Update 11/17/2015

Have been using the ML 300 with a Pioneer 1223 (not quite elite, but similar tech), and the depth is more impressive than I would imagine from a woofer this size. Having it positioned up near the front sound field gives the whole theater experience an immersive sound, that is where most theaters including IMAX place their subs. My speaker setup has also changed except the center channel; Bose 161s for FR & FL, Klipsch Quintets for SR SL, subwoofer turned up half-way also sounds superb on a padded and carpeted floor. The room size is no larger than 20X20'. Cheers

Just a brief review for those who might be considering this purchase. (This is not edited for perfection). But I am a graduate student with lots of practice!!! I really hope this review helps you decide what is truly best for you based on several factors. This review is hardly exhaustive, rather it is enthusiastic and summative.

It is my first ML product, and there are quite a few positive reviews online besides Amazon, so do yourself a favor and research it thoroughly.

I say this because it most likely is limited to specific size rooms and home theater system set ups. For example, I have Harman Kardon AVR 1700 in a smaller sized living room, with Klipsch Quintet front LR speakers, a Definitive Technology Mythos 3 CNTR, and Bose loudspeakers for SRL.

Not a huge system, but definitely fully equipped with clarity and excellent sounds in music and movies and games on the PS3.

What does the subwoofer do well? I transitioned from a Bose bass-module set up to this one. The Bose are full across the board. The Dynamo truly goes beyond full, more into the realm of deep and distinct. Impressive so much so that I think what the company has done is given "seekers" of ML products a very good taste for what to expect from their higher end items. So while it is an entry woofer, don't let that fool you. It truly has the worthiness of its $295 MSRP, and then some. So yes, if I were to upgrade to a larger area later down the road, it would 99% be likely that I'd get a ML woofer.

You get more than what you pay for with this one, as the company has truly produced a means of giving that large level of adjustable, clear bass, with a size that belies its real capabilities. It is in fact a representation of their best, and it shows in looks and especially sounds. Put two bookshelf speakers together and that is the approximate size, which is most impressive set to optimal tonality to your system.

Just be sure if you do go with this woofer that there is about a 50 hour period for fully seating the tonality within the woofer itself. I have just cleared that time frame and it has only gotten better in terms of richness and depth. I have not limited this woofer to any one type of music or movie genre, it has handled the Inception soundtrack with ease, smooth jazz (think deep bass), metal, a lot of classical, PS3 games, HDTV, seriously it is awesome.

It will go well beyond the three-year warranty if you treat it with respect early on!!!

It arrived in the original box, well packaged and ready to go. Just be sure to check out the manual for crossover settings. Most surround (non tower) speakers will be in the range of 60-80hz, with the center being lower in some cases closer to 40hz. The Klipsch are pretty high at about 90-120hz. So let your woofer do most of the "heavy"work for your system and it will shine accordingly.
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on April 12, 2014
I give the MartinLogan Dynamo 300 8” subwoofer five stars because it is a great product whose value goes far beyond its retail price point of $299. I bought mine through Amazon for $100, and as of April 2014, the sub can still be had for near that price. Irrespective of price, a ML sub is not a purchase, it is an investment in high quality music reproduction. If music is your reason for buying a sub, you won’t ever have to buy another one. Most subwoofers are designed to emphasize effects like explosions for home theater. They are not very subtle, and they don't have to be. When it comes to explosions, subwoofers are all pretty much the same. They thump. They have impact. You really can’t determine how cleanly a subwoofer reproduces sound until you play music through it. I bought the ML sub to reproduce music. Deciding to test how much the ML sub could add to a dedicated music system, I established a very low starting point. I used a 20+ year old 70wpc Nakamichi 5.1 receiver. I hooked up a twenty + year old pair of Radio Shack Optimus 7 speakers--the aluminum cased 1" tweeter & 4" bass, 40wpc models made in Japan. They have retained the reputation for being excellent speakers for a small bedroom or for a computer, but they were never designed to be part of a full-on 2 channel stereo system. When I played those Optimus speakers as stand-alone components, they sounded clean and busy, but the music did not have enough imaging or depth to fill the room. I had a tidy little music box. When I switched on the ML sub, the change was dramatic. It sounded like I had a for-real stereo system good enough for a small living room. The music now had depth and the imaging was excellent—far better than they had a right to be. The ML sub enhanced/raised the quality of the Optimus speakers. My point is this: if I got pretty good music from a dinky set of speakers, a pair of decent bookshelf speakers (say $3-400 a pair) plus the ML sub would create a high quality stereo system that would sound like a $1,200 system. I have been buying and selling gear for years—it’s a hobby. I've had tube amps and excellent speakers--Rogers studio monitors and AR-3's among them. I will continue to buy and trade as I always have. But I'll keep the ML sub. If all you need is a subwoofer that shakes the house and thumps out effects, the Dynamo 300 will not be for you—you might as well get a 12” sub of any brand. But if you want a subwoofer that will complete an excellent 2 channel stereo system, the ML Dynamo 300 is the one to get. It reproduces clean and clear bass in music as well or better than any $5-600 subwoofer on the market.
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on April 27, 2012
I was hesitant to buy this sub, but I gave it a try. I was also considering an AudioEngine AS8, but
that sub seems to only have reviews from "computer people," who may not necessarily be audiophiles. To my surprise, the Martin Logan is actually a very good sub for the size. This sub MUST be burned in before you listen critically. After about 40 hours of use I could definitely hear the bass getting cleaner. At 60 hours of burn-in, the bass is now amazingly articulate. I am using this sub with a pair of KEF UniQ bookshelf speakers, driven by a Parasound amplifier. Setup was easy for me thanks to my Velodyne SMS-1, which is a bass preamp, room correction equalizer, and electronic crossover all in one.

The woofer simply isn't big enough to bring the house down or for you to feel it in your gut like a high end 10 or 12 inch sub. However, you can HEAR all the bass that's recorded and, to me, that's what matters. You can hear bass notes, not just BOOM BOOM BOOM. I was hoping the woofer would be made of some type of exotic material like aluminum, kevlar, or ceramic, but the the polypropylene seems just fine. The woofer has a huge rubber surround to allow it to travel a great distance.

The unit seems well made even though some other reviewers seemed to have some quality control problems. An interesting thing about this ub is that there is no "MADE IN ..." sticker anywhere. Not on the box or the unit. I'm guessing it is made in China.

I really wanted a sub with a forward facing woofer an a sealed enclosure, but I couldn't find one that fit my budget. But at least the port is down firing so that placement is less critical than a rear port design. (IMO, rear ported designs are the worst because having the port too close to a wall actually has the affect of changing the port length, which will change the tuning frequency, and make the sub sound boomy.)

Anyway, if you are looking for a good 8 inch sub, look no further and grab this deal while it's still available. If you live in an apartment, I don't think you will get complaints from the neighbors as long as you listen at a reasonable volume.

UPDATE- 12/31/2012
1) The box says "MADE IN CHINA," but not the unit.
2) I recently moved from a house to an apartment and I had to get rid of this sub. It was just too much bass and the neighbors could hear it. My apartment is a modern building (built in 2011) and is pretty quiet. The floors are made of wood and the walls are sheetrock (I assume there is insulation between floors and walls for noise insulation). I cannot hear my neighbors TVs or stereos, but they could hear this sub. I even put the sub on a small table to get it off the floor but it was still too loud even at low volumes. Maybe if you live in a high quality condo with cement floors and walls you'd be ok, but unfortunately, I think this sub produces too much bass for apartments. I'm not sure any good sub would work in an apartment, so now I just use my preamp's bass control to boost the bass by 2-3db for my bookshelf speakers. I was very sad to see the Martin Logan sub go :( I still think it's a great sub.
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on February 12, 2015
I have finally found an end on my search for a subwoofer probably for much time to come. I've had three 12" subs before this one which were Polk, BIC Ameria, and Klipsch Reference series sub. I've had a good taste of a bigger sub and I absolutly loved them for that floor shaking low end they produced. However years have passed and Ive upgraded my system a bit and I decided I wanted to back off on the large subs for my small bedroom and search for something smaller but yet produced non boomy, accurate, tight and quality bass for music.
I had a Marin Logan Dynamo 500 before, and though I was happy with the quality I was not happy for what I got for the price. I then stepped this for only $130 and after much research on 8" subs I decided to pull the trigger for this one.
First reaction for this sub was that it was lacking power. And of course going from subwoofers that packed 300 watts RMS to this little guy that puts out 75 watts RMS was going to take some time to get use to. However over time I've really learned to appreciate the quality this little guy puts out. It's a very musical sub, hit all the low end needed for music but however I wouldn't say the same for movies. Not too soon later I bought another one to get a little more output and now I am extremely satisfied. For the price I paid I can confidently say this sub here is the best subwoofer you can get for the price range.
I am currently using these with a pair of B&W 685 and they go together perfectly.

Note: I did not speak on the characteristics of the subs output because 100 of other reviews have already stated that the Dynamo 300 is tight, punchy, accurate, it shakes the floor, and so on. They speak the truth. I thought I'd gear this review more towards my past experience with other subwoofers to emphasize that these little guys have made it to the top of my list due to their quality output.
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on September 1, 2015
I always like to read reviews before making a purchase, and most of these cats are either fake or some elite audio snob. Well I am just your regular guy with somewhat of a strong dedication to good audio. I was looking into subs for about a week, since my last 7 year old Onkyo HTIB sub burned to hell, and I decided why not get a new receiver as well. But that is another review that I will do shortly. Bottom line you hear reviews that it sounds harsh at first, you need to let it break in, all that is completely false. I plugged this bad boy to my Sony 850 receiver, used the calibration mic and I was rocking. Granted sub wasn't work at first, my that was my fault, my receiver was set to front stage and not 3.1. Once I hit that switch my house was shaking with bass, forgot to turn the gain down LOL. But the lows on this sub are insane, its hitting notes my Onkyo never did. Seriously this sub has so much power and I have the gain set to half, its all I need. Music is pretty damn awesome, all though my main speakers (which were fro my Onkyo HTIB set) got some punch, I plan on investing in some decent towers.

But overall, this sub sounds great out the box, and I cant wait till it breaks it cause I know its gonna sound better. Martin Logan snapped with this budget sub, I am thinking of getting another one for when I buy a house, 2 of these will be killer. if you are looking for big quality bass from a quality product, but dont want to spend over $300, this is the sub you need. I love you Martin Logan!!!!!
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on February 19, 2012
The Dynamo 300 sub may seem to be under-spec'd for it's price. You can certainly buy larger subs for the money, but this sub does a very good job, being both accurate and fairly powerful. It produces very usable bass into the 30hz region and loads up well enough to create the effect of going even deeper. I've got a primary system consisting of Merlin speakers and Manley tube amps, but this small sub was bought for a 2nd system with Motion 4's and a Denon amp. It's doing an excellent job thus far and, in a medium sized room, can produce a satisfyingly musical bass-fill for small speakers. After a short break-in I found the the 300 was creating a very well blended and detailed accounting of itself. Pressed into action for movie material it handled the likes of Real Steel and King Kong with authority, though please remember that this sub is probably not suited to larger rooms for HT. I own a 10" audiophile sub that costs 6 times the price of this sub, yet the 300 sounds very much like a member of the more elite sub designs, which is quite an accomplishment at this price point. As I said, you can buy larger subs in this price range and get deeper bass, but you'll lose out on accuracy.
Now I know Martin Logan is serious about their image and products, so here are a couple of suggestions:
1) Get rid of the horrible spring speaker connections. They scream cheap on any modern product. Most people will probably use the LFE connections anyway, but every choice made still effects the overall impression of the product. I wish I had been at the meeting when this decision was made.
2) Consider making the crossover control a bit better so far as labeling it in greater detail. This way the user can easily keep track of what they're trying during setup. Little details like this enhance the owning experience and will gain you more loyal fans.
3) Watch quality control very carefully. While the build quality appears good, my sample has the speaker connection assembly mounted a bit askew. You don't want to see that on a ML product regardless of price.
Summary: A very solid choice for a low priced sub, the Dynamo 300 provides a strong entry into the more serious realm of audiophiles and even a great bargain for a 2nd system of someone who's looking for better than mid-fi subwoofer. This would also be an excellent choice for a higher end computer speaker system, though I expect ML to introduce the Dynamo PC100 for that precise application soon (I'll take credit for the idea!). Well done.
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on January 31, 2014
I was in search of a Subwoofer to complete add to my small room home theater project. The Martin Logan Dynamo 500 and 700 were recommended along with SVS, and HSU. As I compared, I decided to go with teh SVS PB 1000 (in transit as I type), Although I ordered the SVS sub, I thought about the 8" Downfiring Martin Logan Dynamo 300 and thought for the price I would take a chance on it for a Bedroom/office to fill in the lower frequencies for a pair of Bose 161 bookshelves. For a little over 100.00 (MSR 300.00) it was well worth the risk!!! This sub is articulate, and provides more than adequate fill for the bookshelves in the 12x12 office, but I also plugged it in place of my BIC Accoustech H100 12 inch sub in my family room that is approximately16x20 with 9 foot ceiling open to a Kitchen. The sub does a good job filling in for my in-walls in that environment. I play both music, and scenes from the Hobit, and Batman Begins the sub provides enhancement to the movie watching experience. You will feel vibrations, and rumbles etc, but I would not say it is Chest thumping... Definitely enough boom for a casual movie watcher probably not for the Home theater buff. It doesn't replace the BIC, but in a pinch it would be adequate. I feel it is a great deal for what I will use it for in the office... I have high hopes for the SVS that I just ordered for my Blurays in the basement. I will review that once I receive it and set it up!

Overall, I would say it has nice sound quality (for my office application) Note:The sub does improve greatly after the Break-in period. If you are looking for a chest thumping experience you should go with a larger sub. It would be an imediate upgrade from the HTIB sub, or for gamers to add a little umph to the faming experience. It is a nice inexpensive way to be introduced to Martin Logan as a Brand. I would recommend it for its Value, and sound quality for small room application using inwall or bookshelfs that lack lower frequency response.
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on September 24, 2012
For years I have used a Paradigm 12" front-firing sub in my HT setup. I recently upgraded my other speakers to the Martin Logan "Motion" series, the definitely low end of the Martin Logan brand. I decided to try this subwoofer thinking it might work better with my new speakers. I WAS RIGHT!

In my opinion, this little box sounds better than my big ol' Paradigm sub. It's so good I plan to buy another one for my new 7.2 HT setup I am very impressed with its performance. I am learning to love this brand!
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